Which means that my training starts this week. This is my second half so I should be more confident but I am not.
I can’t back out. I signed up and I gotta woman up. Last year I gave myself 22 weeks to train because I needed to commit to it and it was my first half. I know I can do it. I have done it. My goal is that in the next 22 weeks I can be in a place mentally and physically to do better than I did last year.
I have already signed up for for several races before the half to motivate me and help with my training.
November 17 - Awesome 80’s 5K
November 18 - Lifetime Turkey Day 5K **
December 7 - Sweater Dash 5K
January 12 - Hot Chocolate 5K
February 9 - Davis Stampede 10K **
March 16 - Emerald Across the Bay 12K **
April 6 - San Francisco Rock & Roll Half marathon
I also took advantage of the Halloween offer and signed up for Bay to Breakers 12K on May 18. I figure that way I won’t rest on my laurels after the half. I will have another race to
pressure motivate me to keep moving.
I have three goals for the next 22 weeks:
I still can’t believe that I actually ran a half marathon yesterday. It feels sort of surreal. Is that weird? In thinking of how I wanted to recap my race, I had a lot of ideas but decided to do it in phases - day(s) prior, day of, after the race and what’s going to happen next.
Days before the race:
After my last run on Thursday, I felt a sense of calm come over me. One of the main things I didn’t want to have the day after the race is regrets. I started with an 18 week training plan which I had modified into 22 weeks. Looking back, I think I did about 18 weeks worth of training which helped me in not having regrets. I missed a week due to my knee really bothering me, one week because I was sick and the other two because I was lazy. I didn’t miss a single long run though. There wasn’t anything else I could do but relax this past week. I know that if I get anxious or nervous I tend to self sabotage so the days prior I just worried about eating right and keeping calm. At the expo I felt excitement rather than anxiousness and I just wanted it to be race day.
Day of the race:
I had about 6 hours of sleep the night before and I had prepared all my things the night before so all that I would have to do was take a shower and get ready. I was meeting my sister at her house and she was going to me off at the start line at 6am. I met up with my friend Andrea (who you should all follow on Twitter or her FB page - girl has lost 150 pounds and PRed (2:13) a hilly ass race yesterday) at her corral and we chatted up for a bit. She asked me if I was nervous and I told her that I got some nerves when I drove over the Golden Gate Bridge seeing the set up but it wasn’t too terribly bad. The race started at 7am and I went back to my corral (25 or S for slow & steady) and talked with some people. My corral didn’t cross the start line until about 7:30. In the meantime I just listened my music & kept telling myself that I could do it. One of the runners in my corral asked me about my shirt (I was wearing my Do Life one) and we started talking about Ben & doing life. IIt was also his first half so I hope he kicked ass.
Here’s the race in Runkeeper terms… notice the muther effin’ hills!
My thoughts as the miles went by:
Mile 1 & 2 - Did I really just run up a hill? The start line was at the bottom of a hill that was two blocks long and this crazy girl ran up them. Call it adrenaline or stupidity but I ran up the hill and when I got to the top I felt winded but knew I needed to keep going. I kept laughing because I never run hills. I usually try to walk them. I blame Eminem and him telling me not to be afraid. After that it was flat so I kept doing my run walk intervals and when I got to the first mile marker, I was 1:45 ahead of my pace. What the hell? My first mile is usually my fastest and boy was it true this time. I got to mile two and I was still feeling good.
Mile 3 - as I approached mile 3, I saw someone with a green sign waving it at me and it took me a minute to figure out that it was my sister. It kind of shocked me and she ran along with me. I told her that I was going too fast but that I couldn’t slow down. I was really happy to see her there as it was a total shock. We had planned on her meeting me at mile 10 and then running the rest with me.
Mile 4 - I saw the second hill and I was ready for it. Or so I thought. See I read the map incorrectly. I thought we would go up the smaller hill or come down the big, intense hill. Wrong! We had to go up what turned out to be the steepest and longest of the hills and man that wore me out. I walked for the most part and really slowed down.
Mile 5 & 6 - I was on the Golden Gate Bridge. I was on the east side of the bridge while the majority were on the west side. It was really cool to see so many people but then I felt pressured because I was so far behind. I did some run/walk intervals and when i got to the 10K mark, I realized that I had just done my fastest 10K. That was really encouraging.
Mile 7 & 8 - another hill. This time we had to run down the east side of the bridge and up to the west side (basically we ran underneath it). It wasn’t paved and I had no energy on the way back up. I walked for the rest of the time trying to catch my breath.
Mile 9 - I really just kept telling myself that after mile 10 I only had a 5K & I could easily do that. I just had to keep pushing. There was a lady up ahead of me who the whole race whenever I ran, she would run & whenever I walked, she would walk. When I finally caught up to her, let me tell you it felt damn good (so petty I know). I finally saw my sister at mile 10 and I was really happy because I knew that I didn’t have much left. I was still keeping a really good pace even with the hills.
Mile 10 & 11 - the toughest miles of the race. In my long runs, I only got up as high as 10 miles so this was something that I had never done. It was flat but not paved and I could feel every pebble on the ground. I really just wanted to sit down and my sister kept telling me not to. She just told me to slow down and to stretch. I did stop to stretch my legs a bit and that seemed to help. When I tried to run, my right calf was on fire. I immediately stopped and just tried to walk faster but really I had no energy.
Mile 12 - almost there! The finish line was so close yet there was still one more hill to go over. I love this city but damn the hills. I seemed to get some energy from somewhere (perhaps the Espresso GU) and I increased my pace a bit. I also wanted to save some energy because I really wanted to run across the finish line.
The finish line - As I approached the finish line, I saw my mom and friends who were there to cheer me on. My sister wasn’t allowed on the course so she ran on the outside keeping me company as I heard my name being called as I crossed the finish line. Coolest moment ever! I got my medal and it didn’t feel like it was really happening. I got my picture taken and got my free smoothie and joined my family. It was really great to see them there and having my sister for 1/3 of the race was really awesome. I had paid for the tracking so not even a minute after I crossed the finish line I had my results.
We went to brunch afterwards and then to get my celebratory cupcake. After I got home, I stretched and iced my knees for a bit. I ended up going to bed at 6 pm, woke up at 10 pm and went back to bed because I needed to be up by 4:30am to go to work. I was walking like an old lady who misplaced her cane and going up the stairs in my house sucked.
I woke up feeling great. I do have some aches but I think it’s normal. I was afraid that my knee was going to give me problems but it feels fine. I just need to stretch some more today & probably the rest of the week but I am honestly shocked at how great I feel.
I also woke up with no regrets which was my goal for this race. I didn’t want to think that I could’ve done better or that I didn’t do enough. I knew going into it that the hills were going to be my nemesis and they were. But I am so proud that I did it and that I didn’t give up. I am so proud of myself for sticking to my training and completing this goal. I don’t think I even have the words to explain how I feel right now. I am happy. I am so fucking happy.
Will I do another half? Not this year. I want to be able to run longer & faster. I am going to take it easy this week as far as fitness goes. I plan on starting C25K on Monday (for the third time) and I hope to be able to actually complete it. I also want to lose some weight. More than some. Training for a half and losing weight do not go together. At least I wasn’t able to do it. Seeing the loss on the scale this week it definitely motivates me. I was going to pause about counting calories/points this week but I am not going to do that. I am treating myself to a nice dinner tonight and have plans with friends on Friday, but other than that, I am so desperately hoping to hang on to the wagon. I need to lose more weight if I want to get faster and stronger. But I will be doing this race in 2014 and I hope to have a hell of a PR.
Thank you to all of you who have supported me in this journey, gave me advice and answered my silly questions. Even though I put in the miles and did the race, I could not have done it without you.
And now picture time!
With Andrea before the race
Almost go time!
The only time I stopped during the race was to take this picture because this is a portion of the bridge that is usually blocked. Freaking awesome!
My sister took this picture as I was running down the baby hill. I was so glad to see her!
This is probably my favorite picture of them all (even with the photoshop). It was taken by my friend who was there cheering me on & my sister running next to me. This was about a tenth of a mile from the finish line.
I did it!
Feelin’ the love!
Holy calorie burn!
Brunch of champs!
Relaxing with a Smore’s cupcake, chocolate milk and icing the knees.
Official results - that last 5K was so hard.